1 Kings 8:60-61 “…so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other. But your hearts must be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time.”
Solomon’s words here, though true enough, seem calculated to insure a docile, obedient populace. If Solomon himself had remained fully committed to the Lord all his life, none of this would leave a bad taste in my mouth, but knowing “the rest of the story,” as the saying goes, it does. The roots of the word “sincerity” come to mind. It’s from the Latin, and literally means, “without wax.” Italy is justly famous for marble, but as in most things, there are many grades of that useful stone. Poorer grades often have gaps or holes, making it unreliable as a building material because under load, it can crumble. Unscrupulous merchants would sometimes fill those gaps with wax, making a smooth surface, and then sell the marble for a higher-than-warranted price, but time and a little bit of heat would quickly reveal their deception. Solomon looked perfect at the time of the completion of the Temple, but the cracks and holes in his character were there nonetheless. We need to remember that, as God had told Samuel not so long before this, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) That’s because He sees the end from the beginning, and He knows what each person will do with their life. Hypocrisy tries to put on a good front but sincerity is honest before God and man, always striving to do better but not pretending perfection.
I think I have tended to be blunt and “what you see is what you get,” but I can’t say I haven’t tried to put on a good front a lot of times. That said, I’m not to let “sincerity” be a cover for failing to strive to be better. I often quote Paul’s denial of personal perfection in Philippians 3, but I must remember that part of that is “straining forward” and “pressing on.” (Philippians 3:13-14) I am to confess my sins and failures, but I am never to wallow in them. When I fall down for whatever reason, I am to seek and accept God’s help in getting up and moving on. If I will do that, the gaps and holes that I had tried to “cover with wax,” so to speak, will be filled with His presence by His Spirit, and in Him there is no failure or deficiency at all.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Help me indeed be sincere and honest in all things so that Your presence may shine through me, drawing people to You for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!